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Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence Paperback – October 30, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Mating in Captivity...articulates a poignant and unacknowledged modern crisis for the first time.” (The Evening Standard (London))
“An elegant sociological study, complete with erudite literary and anthropological references.” (Daily Telegraph (London))
“A charming blend of wit and wisdom...this book will give you a fresh perspective on long-term love.” (Gold Coast Bulletin (Australia))
“Well argued points written with considerable eloquence.” (Jerusalem Post)
“This is a brave book...refreshing.” (The Times Higher Education Supplement)
“So honest it hurts.” (Irish Times)
“An excellent book, full of provocative prose and entertaining case illustrations.” (Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy)
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Being a graduate student in sociology, I will admit a bias for the likes of John Gottman's work in part because it's based on social science research. Perel's research is not - its subjects are her clients, and selected accordingly. Another reviewer writes that Perel uses the word "perhaps" very often - she does. This book is full of speculation and opinion. Clinician based research means that her ideas work well for her clients - as far as she knows - but anyone who has sought a therapist knows that it can be very difficult to find a therapist that one works well with. Would she be a good match for you? Maybe, maybe not.
Her writing is good, and there are a couple "aha!" moments in the book. She discusses how sex is viewed in contradictory terms, and that women in particular struggle with the baggage of being "good" and being sexy. She argues that lovers need to rediscover the creativity that led them to pursue their spouses in the first place, and to think of them more as lovers and less like the wife or husband-role with the cultural baggage that comes with this. In the introduction, Perel writes that she uses the word "marriage" to refer to "all long-term emotional commitments".Read more ›
But here comes Esther Perel to suggest that we --- men and women alike --- have it wrong. Good sex doesn't have to end when the hormones cool. Lust doesn't have to devolve into companionship. You can be a mom and a sex kitten. And as for "intimacy"....in the bedroom, a little goes a long way.
Who is this wild woman? A therapist in New York who's been working with couples and families for two decades. Belgian-born, to Holocaust survivors. Married (to her original husband). Two kids. Speaks eight languages --- including common sense.
Not for Perel a how-to book of ridiculous exercises you can practice to rekindle the passion you once knew. If she had her way, you'd never consult a manual again. You might, however, write a dirty letter about all the hot things you'd like to do to your partner --- or that you'd like done to you. Or maybe you should start two e-mail accounts just for the sexual dialogue between you and your mate.
But she's the mother of your child!
But he's the guy who only gets his kicks from online porn!
Perel has heard all that. Many times. She's not fooled --- underneath those smart New York rationalizations are hearts that still want to believe in hot sex with someone you know. The problem, she says, lie in the unspoken assumptions of most marriages.
Like: To love is to merge. Wrong. Merging is what happens when you see the Other as your security. That's death to sex. Good sex requires a spark. A spark requires a gap. Cross the gap, feel the sizzle. No gap? The best you can hope for is a cuddle.Read more ›
However, I strongly disagree with her belief that confessing to an affair is disrespectful. The real disrespect is betraying a partner's trust via an affair. You show respect by allowing your partner to make an informed decision to either leave you or stay - and if they stay, their trust is earned back on their terms rather than yours. Withhold that truth, though, and you keep your partner bound to you through controlling and manipulative means, which the author tries to reframe to sound positive. It's a surprising argument, too, coming from an author who earlier argued against possessiveness.
The author makes this one point over an over again, starting with the introduction, and then repeating herself, in slightly different words (or sometimes even the same words) throughout the book.
She makes a very spare number of specific recommendations to address the dilemma of intimacy and desire: (1) Don't assume you know everything about your partner, and cultivate a certain amount of mystery; (2) Don't expect desire to be "spontaneous" - it can be kindled just as well (or better) through forethought, scheduling and careful planning - just like a great meal or a long-ago date; (3) Sexual fantasy is ok; and (4) imaginary or real third parties add spice to relationships - a little jealousy is a good thing, and don't take your partner for granted.
OK. That's the book. If you want to read a lot of her chatty case studies, or hear her repeat herself over and over again, buy the book. The writer is in dire need of an editor. But then again, if she eliminated the repetition, the book could be reduced to one page, or even one paragraph, and there is no money in that kind of efficiency!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Mating in Captivity is a very good book. Esther wisely tells us through personal stories different aspects of Mating in Captivity. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Mr. Jared C. Serra
A thoughtful, often funny, and very relatable expansion on Perel's highly regarded TED talks.Published 4 days ago by putyourphonedown
Has helped us both understand the underlying reasons for our behaviors & that we're far from alone in our strugglesPublished 4 days ago by Kevin
Speedy delivery, quality product, and great customer service! Thank you!Published 7 days ago by Lola St. Claire
Straight to the point book with real life examples.
I agree with the summary at the end of this book... Read more
Smart and insightful. Hopefully my marriage will remain strong knowing what others go through.Published 17 days ago by IBclothing